National debt exceeds $19.5 trillion, adding $500 billion since January

Surpassing a historic mark of $19.0 trillion in January, the national debt eclipsed $19.5 trillion on the last day of August.

The national debt is best defined as the total outstanding borrowings of the U.S. government comprising both internal and external internal debt incurred in financing its annual expenditures.

Divided into three categories, national debt comprises (a) floating debt such as treasury bills; (b) funded debt, short-term debt converted into long-term debt; and (c) unfunded debt, which normally is made up of national savings certificates, savings bonds or premium bonds.

Some economists believe substantial national debt puts the nation at risk, especially when such large amounts are owed to foreign bond holders.  With current and future spending and debt likely to increase, economists fear an advance economy such as the United States is at substantial risk of higher interest rates, driving private investors from markets and driving inflation upward.

Similarly, skyrocketing national debt also drives fear over the reaction to a sudden fiscal crisis and imperils the government’s ability to borrow at affordable rates.

Prior to his assuming office, total debt hovered around $10 trillion.  Since taking office, Mr. Obama has added $9 trillion to the national debt and has often run annual deficits exceeding $500 billion, or increasing the share of the national debt over $68,000 per household.


Exceeding $1 trillion each, both China and Japan hold the most U.S. debt.


[Washington Examiner] [Treasury Direct] [Image courtesy]